First pass met work results looking positive

ASX:LRS   Aug 24, 2022 Announcement

Investment Memo: LRS IM-2022
Objective 1 : Start feasibility studies

This morning our lithium exploration Investment Latin Resources (ASX: LRS) put out some positive metallurgical test work results from its Brazilian lithium project.

Interestingly, with a simple heavy liquid separation (HLS) processing technique, LRS was able to show:

  • Recovery rates of ~78.72% lithium oxide.
  • Production of high grade lithium oxide concentrates (grades of up to 6.57%).

The significance of today’s news is that with a relatively simple processing method, LRS is able to turn samples from its deposit into high grade spodumene concentrates.

The simple processing method will mean lower operating costs when it comes time to actually mine and produce lithium from LRS’s project. This should have a positive impact on the overall project economics.

The obvious caveat to today’s announcement is the fact that it is only the first set of results from the test work LRS is doing.

We expect to see these results expanded on and optimised as part of the Preliminary Economic Assessment, which LRS expects to have completed by March 2023.

We will be watching to see how things develop as LRS continues to test samples from its deposit.


With a 25,000m resource definition drilling program being run, we expect to see plenty more drilling newsflow over the coming weeks/months leading up to the maiden JORC resource, which LRS expects to complete by the end of this year.

The chart from LRS’s recent announcement gives us a good summary of what to expect over the next six months.

EV1’s graphite by-products are better, meaning more margin

ASX:EV1   Aug 24, 2022 Announcement

Investment Memo: EV1 IM-2022
Objective 2 : Assess Downstream “Value Add” Opportunities
Milestone 3 : Market update battery specific value add (studies or partnerships)

We’ve been looking over the latest announcement from our graphite Investment, Evolution Energy Minerals (ASX:EV1) and we like what we see.

In the Tuesday announcement, EV1 profiled the performance of its non-spherical by-product from the proposed battery anode flowsheet:

Importantly, EV1 by-product outperformed the industry leading products in this area across both resistivity and conductivity.

Meaning batteries that use EV1’s by-product should last longer, are easier to make, cost less and perform better.

We think this is another win for EV1s downstream activities and further vindication of their choice to use an inverted flow sheet.

The current price for this kind of by-product is US$12,000 per tonne.

What’s next for EV1? Further product qualification initiatives, and an optimised DFS ahead of a final investment decision. We think announcements like the one released Tuesday should improve margin on EV1’s graphite and in turn, increase the investability of its Chilalo project for project financiers.

Updated investor presentation

ASX:TEE   Aug 24, 2022 Announcement

Investment Memo: TEE IM-2022

This morning our domestic gas exploration Investment Top End Energy (ASX: TEE) released a new investor presentation.

The slide deck was put together ahead of a presentation at the Northern Territory Resources Week - South East Asia Australia Offshore Conference (SEAAOC).

We found the “near-term indicative work program” slide particularly useful to see where TEE is at with its projects.

To check out the updated investor presentation, click here, alternatively, click on the image below:

Structural shortage in lithium supply now a bigger problem

Aug 24, 2022

Macro: Lithium

The following Bloomberg article is more proof of how fragile the lithium industry's supply-demand situation is.

A shutdown in a particular part of China can quickly cascade into supply shortages, leading to increased prices and scenarios where end users cannot purchase the amount of lithium they need.

Read the full article here.

Our key takeaways:

  • Sichuan, a city home to more than a fifth of China's lithium production, is experiencing industrial power cuts. This means the already tight lithium market is experiencing more by way of supply shocks.
  • Supply disruptions are expected to lead to increased lithium prices.
  • Rystad Energy analyst (Susan Zou) said the following - "We are estimating the lithium price momentum will last for a while, and the spot price for lithium carbonate will climb to 500,000 yuan per ton (US$73,000 per tonne) shortly,"

Another article highlighting the structural supply shortages in the lithium industry.

For us, it points to just how important it is for the mining industry to make new lithium discoveries match the exponentially increasing demand for lithium.

Without massive investment in new exploration, we won't have enough lithium to catch up with the demand from battery makers.

We hold investments from the exploration stage up to development ready projects in the lithium space.

Below is a list of our lithium Investments:

Vulcan Energy Resources (ASX: VUL) - Next Investors Portfolio

  • Zero Carbon Lithium development stage, Germany (European Union)

European Metals Holdings (ASX: EMH) - Wise Owl Portfolio

  • Lithium, development stage, Czech Republic (European Union)

Latin Resources (ASX: LRS) - Catalyst Hunter Portfolio

  • Lithium, exploration stage, Brazil

Ragusa Minerals (ASX: RAS) - Catalyst Hunter Portfolio

  • Lithium, exploration stage, Northern Territory

India recognises role of Nuclear in energy transition

ASX:GTR   Aug 24, 2022

Macro: Uranium

Investment Memo: GTR IM-2022

The latest country to announce nuclear as a critical future source for baseload energy generation in India.

The following Bloomberg article highlights recent developments in India, which is aiming to shift its coal heavy energy mix to cleaner sources of power generation.

Read the full article here.

Our key takeaways:

  • India’s largest power producer is looking to develop more nuclear power plants.
  • India is currently building six gigawatts of nuclear capacity, the most after China, which has nearly three times that volume under construction.
  • The Indian government aims to triple India’s nuclear fleet over the next decade as it looks to decarbonise its energy grid.
  • The move is part of India’s pathway to a zero carbon economy by 2070.
  • Mumbai based Deloitte partner Debasish Mishra also thinks that “From a carbon footprint point of view, nuclear is the best form of baseload power and that makes it a crucial part of India’s journey to net zero.

We have long held the view that nuclear is a key part of the future global energy mix, especially regarding baseload energy generation.

Nuclear power has one of the lowest carbon footprints and highest utility rates of all renewable energy technologies currently available.

We think this, combined with its ability to operate on an almost 24/7 basis, makes it the ideal technology to sit alongside more intermittent renewable energy technologies like wind and solar.

We believe that more countries will follow the likes of India and China and eventually invest heavily into nuclear power to meet climate change goals and secure energy supplies domestically.

With uranium being the primary fuel source for nuclear power, we think our uranium exploration investment GTI Energy (ASX: GTR) is well positioned to benefit from capital inflows into the uranium industry.

To see the key reasons why we are Invested in GTR and the key objectives we want to see the company achieve in 2022, check out our 2022 GTR Investment Memo by clicking here.

Copper mineralisation at Cosmo prospect, sulphides at Onedin

ASX:AKN   Aug 24, 2022 Announcement

Investment Memo: AKN IM-2022
Objective 3 : Test regional prospects

Earlir today, our exploration investment AuKing Mining (ASX:AKN) delivered the latest assay results from its Koongie Park copper/zinc project in Halls Creek, WA.

Koongie Park already hosts a JORC resource of 8.9Mt, containing 1.01% copper, 3.67% zinc, 0.77% lead, 0.16g/t gold, and 26g/t silver, all within its Onedin (shallow oxides) and Sandiego (deep sulphides) deposits. This is set to increase once the resource from the Emull prospect (shallow sulphides) is incorporated, likely within the next few months.

Today’s results are from the first nine (of 13) holes at the Cosmo prospect, confirming the presence of significant, near-surface copper mineralisation. This matters as Cosmo is quite close (only ~500 metres) to the Onedin deposit, providing easier co-development potential down the road.

Following these promising Cosmo results, AKN are planning another round of RC drilling at Cosmo later this year.

Aside from the Cosmo results, assay results were returned for the downhole electromagnetic conductor targets near Onedin, identifying a significant zone of sulphide mineralisation at depth. This is interesting as there may be the potential to consider underground development here, given that sulphide ores are easier to process than oxides.

Our latest note on AKN provides a detailed analysis of Koongie Park and these prospects including understanding the different ore types within.

Next up, we await the commencement of follow up drilling at the Emull prospect, and an updated JORC resource for Koongie Park.

Heritage surveys completed, drilling soon.

ASX:LNR   Aug 23, 2022 Announcement

Investment Memo: LNR IM-2022
Objective 2 : Delivering a drilling campaign on WA rare earths project

With heritage surveys completed, Lanthanein Resources (ASX:LNR) is slated to begin drilling in early September.

This drilling campaign is the key catalyst for our rare earths Investment, and we’ve been waiting for LNR to get the go ahead on this for the last two months.

The area that LNR will be drilling in has seen a wave of interest hit it over the last couple months as Dreadnaught Resources hit excellent grades at its Yin discovery and the more established Hastings Technology Metals edges closer towards production.

Having looked at both Dreadnought’s drilling results and Hastings’ most recent drilling results, we’ve outlined the following cases for LNR’s maiden drilling campaign:

Bull case: Significant mineralisation is found (approaching Dreadnought results, ~10-20m at 2-3% TREO)

Base case: Enough mineralisation is found to warrant follow up drilling (similar hits to nearby Hastings - ~5-10m at ~1-2% TREO).

Bear case: No mineralisation is found

We note the proximity of Hastings’ latest drilling, just 2.5kms away in the same geological setting.

What’s next for LNR? Site works will begin shortly, with drill sites being prepared after the drill targets were finalised in June.

Permitting done, drilling for uranium in September

ASX:GTR   Aug 23, 2022 Announcement

Investment Memo: GTR IM-2022
Objective 2 : Drilling at the company’s Wyoming uranium projects.

This morning our US-based uranium exploration Investment GTI Energy (ASX: GTR) announced it has completed all required permitting for its 2022 drilling program.

GTR is planning a 100,000 foot (~30,000 metre) drilling program across its uranium projects in Wyoming. Drilling is due to start in the coming weeks and should be completed by Christmas.

GTR plans to drill ~130 holes across five different targets, following up on drilling done earlier in the year when the company announced a maiden discovery.

The ultimate aim of this drilling program is to put out a maiden uranium resource estimate or, at the very least, an achievable exploration target to base future exploration programs.

We will measure the success of GTR’s drilling program against the following expectations:

  • Bull case = Uranium intercepts lead to a maiden JORC resource.
  • Base case = Enough uranium intercepted to put together an achievable exploration target.
  • Bear case = No uranium is intercepted. Projects are considered stranded.

We did a deep dive on the upcoming drilling program in our most recent GTR note which you can read here: GTR launching USA uranium drilling campaign

Engineering Services Provider appointed for HPA Project

ASX:FYI   Aug 23, 2022 Announcement

Investment Memo: FYI IM-2022
Objective 1 : Commission demonstration plant

Our Wise-Owl critical metals Investment, FYI Resources (ASX:FYI) is progressing an innovative high purity alumina (HPA) project that could revolutionise the industry.

FYI has partnered with the Australian subsidiary of the leading global aluminium producer, the +$10B capped Alcoa, to develop the HPA project via a joint venture (65% Alcoa : 35% FYI).

The project aims to produce HPA that is purer and substantially cheaper than the current predominant process, and leaves a much smaller environmental footprint.

The JV is currently developing a demonstration plant in WA which will produce up to 240 tpa HPA.

Earlier today, FYI announced that Hatch Engineering was awarded the engineering services contract to support work for the demonstration plant.

With over 70 offices around the world, Hatch is a leading, global multidisciplinary management, engineering and development consultancy with extensive experience in critical minerals.

The Hatch appointment fits in with the main objective we’d like to see FYI deliver in 2022 — commissioning the demonstration plant. The key catalyst for this will come in December with the $50M funding decision by Alcoa.

While we are not privy to Alcoa’s internal discussions regarding its funding decision, there are positive indications of its continued commitment to the project. We note that Alcoa did mention the HPA project in its latest quarterly presentation and commentary.

We also take confidence in seeing FYI management increase their own holdings — managing director Roland Hill recently acquired $190k of shares at a premium through an off-market transaction.

For more on our analysis on FYI Resources, here is a link to our FYI Investment memo.

Airborne Gravity Gradiometry completed

ASX:NHE   Aug 22, 2022 Announcement

Investment Memo: NHE IM-2022
Objective 2 : Target generation to produce two drillable targets
Milestone 1 : Airborne gravity gradiometry (Q2-Q3 2022)

Noble Helium (ASX:NHE) continues to add new data to its geological model of its North Rukwa helium project in Tanzania, today announcing that it has completed the Airborne Gravity Gradiometry (AGG) and magnetic program across the full North Rukwa Project area.

Here, NHE has an independently certified 176Bcf of mean unrisked Prospective Helium Resource, which has the potential to be the world’s third largest helium reserve and the largest ever reserve held by a single company.

That's equivalent to ~30 years of annual global helium demand.

Preliminary AGG results are consistent with each of the previously mapped North Rukwa Basin Margin Fault Closure structures, which have a 100% success rate for oil and gas exploration in the East African Rift.

NHE also reports that a Soil Gas Survey is now complete over all of the project’s western area and 30% of its eastern area, with the remaining area to be surveyed in September. Today’s AGG results also display strong correlation with each of the Soil Gas Survey helium anomaly clusters identified so far.

September is shaping up to be a busy month of news flow for NHE with the 3D seismic survey on track to commence acquisition late next month, along with the full processing of the AGG for final structural interpretation.

We’re very pleased with NHE’s progress to date - today’s announcement noted that of the seven structures identified to date, all remain candidates for the 2023 drilling program.

NHE will select the two best drill targets from this pool of structures, so it looks like NHE has quite a range of options to choose from to maximise the chance of drilling success.

The company also confirmed that it has now commenced investigations into funding options for the 2023 drilling program, while it seeks to secure a drill rig for the maiden drill program.

More RC holes intersect sulphides; diamond drilling underway

ASX:GAL   Aug 19, 2022 Announcement

Investment Memo: GAL IM-2022 [Archive]
Objective 3 : Cobalt and palladium exploration at Norseman

Galileo Mining (ASX:GAL) yesterday announced that it has commenced diamond drilling at its Callisto PGE (palladium-platinum-gold-rhodium-copper-nickel) discovery in WA, while it also reported that it has intersected sulphides in a further eight RC drill holds.

GAL reported that the mineralisation at the Callisto discovery remains open in all directions, where it plans to undertake an initial 2,000 metres of diamond drilling with a particular focus on the down dip potential.

The first diamond drill tail to be undertaken is on hole NRC278, which had ended in mineralisation:

In addition to the diamond drilling program, the RC drill rig is now 25% of the way (2,479 metres) through the current 10,000-metre RC drill program.

GAL has now completed eight drill holes to date in the current program, each intersecting sulphides. Disseminated sulphide zones of 16m to 48m thick were logged in completed drill holes — the drill samples are at the lab with assays expected back next month.

Four of the drill holes were pulled up early to allow for diamond drill tails to be completed through the mineralised zone.

The RC drill rig is focused on both the shallow sections of the known mineralisation at a 50m spacing as well as the excellent prospectivity for further discoveries along strike. It will target the along-strike potential up to one kilometre north.

Here, GAL has planned a sequence of 12 RC drill holes between 300m and 1,000m north of the current drilling with the opportunity for additional new discoveries to be made.

On the plan view below, you can see both the RC (in red) and diamond drill (in green) target zones around known sulphide mineralisation for the current drill campaigns. The regional drilling up to one kilometre away from existing drill holes is located off the plan to the north.

Completed drillholes in the current RC drill program are shown as red dots and the blue dots are from the prior RC drill program, including the discovery hole.

Awarded US Hemp Authority certificate for CBD products

ASX:BOD   Aug 19, 2022 Announcement

Investment Memo: BOD IM-2022
Risk 3 : Regulatory risk

Our long-term Wise-Owl cannabis investment, BOD Australia (ASX:BOD) today announced it has been awarded US Hemp Authority Certification for its exclusive CBD extract and its CBD products sold in the US.

This certification provides a competitive advantage in the US as it essentially an endorsement that BOD’s products adhere to the highest US standards, enhancing consumer confidence in the brand.

BOD already sells a range of CBD wellness products in the USA through its exclusive global partner and Swisse Vitamins parent company Health and Happiness Group Limited (H&H, HKSE: 1112).

We’re keen to see how today’s news translates into revenue from the US markets going forward.

What’s Next?

We await progress updates on BOD’s clinical trials. During the last quarter, BOD dosed the first patients for the following two trials:

  1. Insomnia (Phase IIb) - for an over-the-counter (OTC) treatment available at pharmacists
  2. Long-COVID (Open label, “Proof of Concept”)

Since these potential products both address substantial markets, we’re keen to see the outcomes of both trials.

With a market cap of ~$10.5M, and $3.67M cash at bank as of 30 June 2022, this translates to an enterprise value (EV) for BOD of ~$7M. Given BOD's low EV, we suspect that success in either trial would lead to a significant market re-rate.

Patient recruitment for COVID-19 study completed

ASX:DXB   Aug 18, 2022 Announcement

Investment Memo: DXB IM-2022
Objective 4 : Complete Phase III Clinical Trial to treat COVID-19 hospitalisations (CLARITY 2.0)

Dimerix (ASX:DXB) announced today that the CLARITY 2.0 led study of COVID-19 patients has concluded recruitment to allow this study to be analysed and reported.

DXB recruited 49 patients into the CLARITY 2.0 study and the safety and efficacy results of the clinical trial are currently being analysed and will be reported once available.

Now that recruitment has concluded, DXB can assess the current data for positive signs of proof of concept. If a positive signal is substantiated, DXB says it may then assess the next steps to progress towards the ultimate therapeutic outcome for these patients.

If DXB proves its CLARITY 2.0 treatment to be effective, we expect the treatment to be transferable to other patients with pneumonia and a wide range of respiratory diseases, not just those caused by COVID-19.

That would be a significant win for DXB and today’s announcement marks progress towards Objective #2 from our DXB Investment Memo.

What’s next for DXB? We are eagerly awaiting a patient recruitment update on what we view as the primary Phase 3 DXB study - the FSGS trial.

Managing Director purchases shares off market

ASX:FYI   Aug 18, 2022 Announcement

Investment Memo: FYI IM-2022

Yesterday we saw some direct buying off market from FYI’s Managing Director Roland Hill.

The purchase was for $190k at an average price of 19c per share, a premium to the current market price for FYI.

FYI’s share price is down ~50% from where it was earlier in the year at ~40c per share.

With the share price down so much, we always like it when the company directors step up and start to buy shares on or off market. Director buying signals to us that the people closest to the company clearly see some value in topping up their shareholdings.

To see all of the key objectives we want to see FYI achieve in 2022, the reasons why we continue to hold FYI in our portfolio and the key risks to our Investment thesis, check out our 2022 FYI Investment Memo here.

Maiden drilling program at Cu/Au prospect commences

ASX:TTM   Aug 17, 2022 Announcement

Investment Memo: TTM IM-2022
Objective 2 : Follow-up drilling at Linderos

Earlier today, our exploration investment Titan Minerals (ASX:TTM) announced that it launched the maiden drilling program at the Copper Ridge prospect within its Linderos project, Southern Ecuador.

The campaign aims to assess the potential of the prospect to host higher grade copper-molybdenum porphyry mineralisation. This follows encouraging channel sampling results earlier this year, returning promising copper and coincident molybdenum results including:

  • 46m @ 0.24% copper, 9.71ppm molybdenum in channel CRC040
  • 32m @ 0.21% copper, 3.91ppm molybdenum in channel CRC051

The campaign will also incorporate drilling at the Meseta prospect to discern the potential for a high sulphidation gold system. This follows channel sampling results earlier this year including:

  • 4.5m @ 12.69g/t gold and 3.48g/t silver in channel MGC22-025
  • 2.9m @ 9.81g/t gold and 2.69g/t silver in channel MGC22-024

Today’s news fits in with our #2 Objective we’d like to see management deliver this year: Follow up drilling at Linderos.

We’re keen to see how the assays look at the other end, and will update once delivered, likely in the next quarter.

Spodumene bearing pegmatites 500m west of existing discovery

ASX:LRS   Aug 16, 2022 Announcement

Investment Memo: LRS IM-2022
Objective 3 : Additional exploration at lithium tenements
Risk 2 : Exploration risk

Drilling results from our lithium exploration Investment Latin Resources (ASX: LRS) may indicate a new discovery 500m west of its existing lithium project in Brazil.

This morning LRS announced that a drillhole completed ~500m to the west of its existing Colina discovery hit a series of 17 separate pegmatites starting from a depth of ~62m, with several intercepts showing spodumene mineralisation.

One of those spodumene bearing pegmatites measured ~18.75m in thickness.

LRS is calling the discovery “Colina West” but will continue testing the ~500m distance between these intercepts and its existing Colina discovery to see if the two make up one larger discovery.

In addition to the intercepts, LRS confirmed that it has now mapped more outcropping pegmatites ~1km to the west of today’s drilling results.

This means that even after LRS puts together a maiden JORC resource over its existing discovery, it may be able to significantly increase its lithium project's size and scale by systematically drilling out these new prospects.

At this stage, LRS has a bunch of outcropping pegmatites and some drillholes confirming the presence of spodumene bearing pegmatites.

With assays pending, we will be watching to see just how much lithium is in these intercepts before considering the scale implications these new prospects have on LRS’s project.

Where to catch EMN quarterly management call

ASX:EMN   Aug 15, 2022 Announcement

Investment Memo: EMN IM-2022

Below you can find the link to the webcast of the quarterly EMN management call tomorrow:

We’ll be listening in to hear what CEO Matthew James and CFO Martia Blahova have to say.

It starts Tuesday, August 16, 2022 at 8.30 am AEST (tomorrow).

Multiple thick & high grade graphite intercepts

ASX:SGA   Aug 15, 2022 Announcement

Investment Memo: SGA IM-2022
Objective 3 : Increase confidence in the resource - upgrade JORC resource from inferred to indicated
Milestone 2 : Drill results
Risk 4 : Exploration risk

Our graphite exploration Investment Sarytogan Graphite Ltd (ASX: SGA) has reported multiple thick and high grade assay results from its first round of drilling at the Sarytogan Graphite Deposit in Central Kazakhstan.

SGA also reported that it has drilled holes outside of the project’s current JORC mineral resource estimate area — graphite mineralisation has been logged here and assays are pending for these holes. We are very interested to see these assays and any graphite mineralisation hit outside of the existing resource area.

Today’s announcement follows our site visit to the project in Kazakhstan last week. You can read about that in our weekend update here: Kazakhstan site visit - first impressions.

Drill rig and support equipment at the Central Graphite Zone:

Drill rig and support equipment at the Central Graphite Zone, Sarytogan Graphite Deposit.

SGA today reported that five of the first seven diamond drill holes from the Central Graphite Zone displayed broad thicknesses of high-grade graphite mineralisation, with grades of up to 41.5% TGC recorded in places.

The results include multiple thicker and higher-grade results than the historical information that was used to estimate the current JORC Mineral Resource of 209Mt @ 28.5% TGC (Inferred) in the same area and have the potential to significantly expand the already giant resource.

To date, 13 holes for 1,297m have been drilled from the ongoing 4,000m program with assays pending for six of these holes.

First High-Grade Graphite Drill Core from the 2022 Program; grading 38% TGC in this interval:

First High-Grade Graphite Drill Core from the 2022 Program; grading 38% TGC in this interval

Drilling is continuing to the north-east of the Central Graphite Zone, and holes have been drilled outside of the current resource estimate area. Graphite mineralisation has been logged in these holes and assays are pending.

What’s next?

SGA’s next steps include ongoing diamond drilling, metallurgical test-work and a revised Mineral Resource in Q1 2023.

We were impressed with today’s assay results, as was SGA Managing Director Sean Gregory who said the results were “outstanding” and “exceeded expectations”, and we are keen to see the drilling results from outside of the existing resource area.

But given that SGA already has a large high grade mineral resource estimate (the second largest on the ASX), we are most interested in seeing the results of metallurgical testwork and for SGA to determine the flake size distribution of its graphite resource.

SGA reports that this met test-work is now underway and will include further flotation, sintering and leaching. An understanding of the flake size distribution is key to knowing the types of products that SGA’s graphite may be suitable for and therefore, the price it could command.

Today’s announcement follows our site visit to the project in Kazakhstan last week. You can read about that in our weekend update here: Kazakhstan site visit - first impressions.

$14.9M raised to finance future exploration programs

ASX:88E   Aug 12, 2022 Announcement

Investment Memo: 88E IM-2022
Objective 3 : Clear Exploration Program laid out for Project Icewine
Risk 1 : Funding risk

This morning our oil and gas Investment 88 Energy (ASX: 88E) came out of a trading halt, having completed a capital raise.

88E raised a total of $14.9M at 0.9c per share.

This adds to 88E’s existing cash reserves of $6.1M (as of 31 July 2022), meaning the company should have ~$21M to finance its future exploration programs.

With the balance sheet a lot stronger now, 88E plans to use the funds for the following:

  1. Exploration program at the Icewine East project (where 88E just put out a gross unrisked mean prospective resource of 1.03 billion barrels of oil)
  2. New ventures and portfolio expansion opportunities

88E also confirmed that the company is currently advancing planning works for its Icewine East project with a target to conduct at least one flow test from 4 reservoir targets in 2023.

After acquiring 3D seismic data over its Icewine East acreage, 88E is still continuing to interpret the data on hand to determine the highest priority drilling targets for its 2023 exploration program.

With its London listed neighbour Pantheon Resources (capped at $1.7 billion) preparing to run a flow test over its Alkaid #2 well immediately to the north of 88E’s ground, we think any exploration success from Pantheon could translate to a lot more market interest in 88E’s ground.

To see our previous Quick Take on where Pantheon is at with respect to its drilling program, check out our previous 88E Quick Take here.

Confirmation of shallow Cu/Zn mineralised system at flagship, WA

ASX:AKN   Aug 12, 2022 Announcement

Investment Memo: AKN IM-2022
Objective 3 : Test regional prospects

This morning, our exploration investment AuKing Mining (ASX:AKN) delivered the latest drilling results at its Koongie Park copper-zinc project in the Halls Creek region of WA.

Koongie Park already has a JORC resource estimate of 8.9Mt at 1.01% copper, 3.67% zinc, 0.77% lead, 0.16g/t gold, and 26g/t silver, all from its two most advanced prospects, namely Onedin and Sandiego.

With today’s news AKN is looking to add a third prospect to the mix and potentially increase its overall JORC resource.

Today’s assay results came from the Emull prospect, which was originally a Northern Star Resources listing asset back in 2003.

Northern Star drilled some 88 holes here, identifying an open-pittable resource of ~4.5mt @ 0.33% copper (non-JORC), but let go of the project after acquiring the Paulsens gold project.

AKN returned the following assays from eight, reverse circulation (RC) holes:

  • 74m @ 0.36% Cu, 0.71% Zn and 6g/t Ag from 106m
  • 89m @ 0.36% Cu, 1.18% Zn and 9g/t Ag from 61m
  • 25m @ 0.46% Cu, 1.55% Zn and 8g/t Ag from 34m and
  • 86m @ 0.33% Cu, 0.09% Zn and 2g/t Ag from 53m

What is most promising is that the intercepts were mostly made from shallow depths of ~100m, all of the intercepts to date also indicate that the prospect could be open at depth and along strike.

The mineralisation was found mostly in the primary zone as sulphides - similar to that at Sandiego - and hence amenable to conventional extraction methods.

Provided the mineralisation is continuous and of economic grade, which further drilling will determine, then Emull could provide a quicker path to early production, as a shallow, bulk-tonnage, open-pittable deposit.

Significant magnetic features also exist to the north-west along strike and to the south-west of the main mineralised zone, untested by drilling, and providing plenty of options for future drill targets.

Further drilling is now planned at Emull before the end of 2022.

In the meantime, we expect that AKN will look to incorporate Emull within its current MRE. This is primarily a database exercise (as they already have plenty of historic drilling data).

We wouldn’t be surprised by an updated MRE later this quarter, or else the following quarter.

Neighbour Empire Energy delivers strong gas flow rates

ASX:TEE   Aug 11, 2022

Investment Memo: TEE IM-2022
Investment Thesis 1 : Beetaloo Basin gas peers trading at many multiples of TEE

Our previous note on our domestic gas exploration Investment Top End Energy (ASX: TEE) focused on the activities of its neighbours in the Beetaloo sub-basin in the Northern Territory.

We touched on all of the majors that are currently actively exploring the region and how we would be watching their exploration initiatives closely.

Our thinking is that any success by TEE’s neighbours would bring market interest in the basin and eventually flow through to interest in the permits TEE holds in and around the region.

This morning TEE’s neighbour Empire Energy put out strong gas flow rates from its Carpentaria-2 horizontal well.

Empire announced a normalised flow rate of 2.8 million standard cubic feet per day (per 1,000m horizontal section).

For some context, we noted that both industry analysts and operators in the basin considered a flow rate of 3 million standard cubic feet per day (per 1,000m of horizontal well section) as the “commerciality standard”.

This means Empire’s flow test rates up until now are right near the levels required for it to be considered a commercially viable operation.

The market also seemed to like the news adding ~$31M to Empire’s market cap - almost 2x TEE’s entire market cap, which at today’s share price of 23c per share is ~$16M.

We see these developments out of Empire as positive as part of the overall macro picture regarding the Beetaloo sub-basin.

The positive takeaway from Empire's announcement is that the Beetaloo continues to shape up as a region that could become Australia’s next gas production hub with the ability to supply the gas hungry East Coast energy markets.

With TEE weeks away from its on country meetings with native title holders, we think that if the necessary permits are granted, and the company has tenure over its permits surrounding the Beetaloo, the market could start to show an interest in the acreage our portfolio company holds.

Drill targets identified at its Lithium project in the NT

ASX:RAS   Aug 11, 2022 Announcement

Investment Memo: RAS IM-2022
Objective 4 : Complete due diligence on NT lithium project
Milestone 3 : Define high priority drilling targets

This morning our junior exploration Investment Ragusa Minerals (ASX: RAS) announced that desktop reviews had been completed for its Northern Territory lithium project.

RAS has now completed its target generation works and identified the highest priority lithium targets it plans to drill in its upcoming drilling program.

RAS’s project sits in the same region as two much larger capped neighbours, Core Lithium (capped at $2.5B) and Lithium Plus (capped at $62M), sharing similar geological fundamentals.

Similar to its neighbours, previous rock chip samples taken from outcropping pegmatites over RAS’s project area have returned lithium grades of up to 8.03%.

Importantly RAS has also identified what it believes to be spodumene crystals over its project area - the host rock for most of the current producing hard rock lithium projects worldwide.

RAS also confirmed today that it already has an approved work program in place for up to 21 RC/diamond drillholes, and that the company has submitted a variation to this work program to take advantage of the desktop study and drill the best targets.

Our last note on RAS focused primarily on RAS’s newly acquired lithium project and set the context for what RAS is targeting.

To see our deep dive into the project, check out our previous note here: RAS Picks up Prospective Lithium Ground Near $2.3BN Core Lithium.

Resource drilling ongoing with more pegmatites being intercepted

ASX:ARN   Aug 10, 2022

Investment Memo: ARN IM-2022
Objective 1 : Drilling across the company’s rubidium/lithium projects
Objective 2 : Maiden JORC resource estimate at the rubidium/lithium project

This week our exploration investment Aldoro Resources (ASX: ARN) put out two updates across all of the drilling the company is doing right now.

First was around the drilling program at ARN’s Wyemandoo rubidium-lithium project.

Here the company announced that ~29 RC drillholes had been completed and that pegmatite structures as thick as ~30m had been intercepted.

Second, ARN put out an update for its infill resource definition drilling program at its Niobe rubidium-lithium project.

Here ARN confirmed that pegmatites were being intercepted >50m in thickness with initial drilling exceeding pre-drilling expectations.

We are more focused on seeing the assay results from the Niobe project, given this is following up on a recent drilling program that ARN set out to complete so that it could define a maiden JORC resource for its project.

We did a deep dive on what a JORC resource could mean for ARN and what we were watching next in our latest note which you can here read here: ARN delivers rubidium assay results, good enough to drill again.

Maiden prospective resource estimate adjacent $1.7B neighbour.

ASX:88E   Aug 10, 2022 Announcement

Investment Memo: 88E IM-2022
Objective 2 : Prospective resource update for Project Icewine

This morning, our oil and gas exploration Investment 88 Energy (ASX: 88E) put out a maiden prospective resource estimate for its Icewine East acreage - adjacent London listed Pantheon Resources (capped at $1.7B).

88E’s maiden prospective resource estimate came in at 1.03 billion barrels on a gross mean unrisked basis.

88E has a ~75% working interest in the project meaning its net unrisked prospective resource is ~647 million barrels of oil.

The prospective resource estimate comes a few months after 88E acquired 3D Seismic data in its acreage, enhancing its understanding of the project area.

Importantly the prospective resource estimate has been mapped across the same reservoirs where London listed Pantheon resources (capped at $1.7 billion) drilled its Alkaid-1, Talitha-A and Theta West-1 and confirmed reservoir deliverability of light oils.

Also worth noting is that this part of 88E’s Icewine acreage is independent of the Icewine west acreage where 88E previously drilled the Charlie-1 well.

We covered Pantheon's results in a previous 88E note which you can read here: Neighbour Pantheon’s work to date all adds value to 88E’s ground.

With 88E’s neighbour Pantheon Resources currently preparing to drill the vertical section of its Alkaid #2 well to obtain a flow test over its project area, we think 88E’s prospective resource estimate comes at the perfect time.

If its neighbour is able to prove a commercially viable flow rate, then we think the attention will start to turn to 88E, whose project sits over the same reservoirs.

$13M raised to progress project development

ASX:EV1   Aug 10, 2022 Announcement

Investment Memo: EV1 IM-2022
Risk 3 : Funding Risk

This morning our 2021 Wise-Owl Pick of the Year Evolution Energy Minerals (ASX: EV1) came out of a trading halt having completed a capital raise.

EV1 raised a total of $13M at 32c per share via a placement to private investors.

Importantly we saw ARCH capital partners show intent and commit to maintaining their 24.7% shareholding in the company by participating in the placement.

EV1’s managing director Phil Hoskins also said that the placement allowed for ““the introduction of a number of institutional investors to the Evolution share register”, which is good timing given the company is progressing its project towards a final investment decision targeted for the end of this year.

EV1 is adding to its ~$5.37M cash balance (at 30 June 2022) which should mean it has ~$18.37M in cash post placement,

EV1 plans to use its balance sheet strength to complete the following:

  • Front end engineering design work and delivery of an updated definitive feasibility study for its graphite project.
  • Progress the company's downstream strategy.
  • Product qualification and marketing.
  • Drilling for near surface high grade material to improve project economics

The placement shares will come onto market in two separate tranches, the first tranche of 24,281,250 EV1 shares are expected to be issued on 19 August 2022 and the remaining 16,343,750 will be issued after shareholder approvals in early October (expected on the 5th of October 2022).

The latest video from the Mukuyu-1 well site

ASX:IVZ   Aug 10, 2022

Investment Memo: IVZ IM-2022
Objective 4 : This is the most important: We want to see the first drill.

We recently noticed the following video from our 2020 Energy Pick Of The Year Invictus Energy (ASX: IVZ) with an update on the mobilisation of the Exalo 202 drill rig ahead of its maiden drilling program expected in August.

Below is a link to that video.

IVZ is gearing up to drill its elephant scale prospect in Zimbabwe with the potential to open up an entirely new oil and gas basin in the country.

After recently having its environmental impact assessment renewal approved, IVZ is cleared to drill the Mukuyu-1 well from a permitting perspective. Drilling is expected to commence this month, and a new discovery here could be a game changer for IVZ, Zimbabwe and the Southern Africa energy markets.

The first well will target a giant prospective resource totalling 20 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) and 845 million barrels of gas condensate — a gross mean unrisked prospective resource of ~4.3 billion barrels of oil equivalent over seven different stacked targets.

Pilot plant commissioned to aid offtake discussions

ASX:LRS   Aug 10, 2022 Announcement

Investment Memo: LRS IM-2022
Objective 2 : Offtake Agreement

In its announcement yesterday, our lithium exploration Investment Latin Resources (ASX: LRS) said it is commissioning a pilot plant to produce samples of lithium concentrate from its project in Brazil.

LRS confirmed that the Dense Media Separation (DMS) pilot plant would allow the company to provide a representative lithium concentrate product from its project to potential offtake customers.

More interestingly, LRS also confirmed that it has “held preliminary discussions with several international car and battery manufacturers as well as leading lithium trading houses with respect to future supply of its lithium product”.

We suspect the decision to build out a pilot plant comes as a response to the demand LRS is seeing from potential customers.

We are not surprised by the interest in LRS’s product given the comments made by Kent Masters (CEO of the world’s largest publicly traded lithium producer - Albemarle), who expects lithium supply to remain tight for up to seven to eight years.

We are especially pleased that the company is making such quick progress given it has only been around six months since first hitting spodumene at its Brazilian lithium project.

Preliminary Economic Assessment for lithium project started

ASX:LRS   Aug 10, 2022 Announcement

Investment Memo: LRS IM-2022
Objective 1 : Start feasibility studies

Yesterday morning our lithium exploration Investment Latin Resources (ASX: LRS) announced the early commencement of a Preliminary Economic Assessment (PEA) on its new lithium discovery in Brazil.

LRS has appointed consultants SGS Geological Services (SGS) to carry out the metallurgical test work, JORC resource estimation, and a preliminary economic assessment into the economics of its lithium discovery.

Interestingly, the consultants are the same outfit that delivered a Definitive Feasibility Study (DFS) for LRS’s Brazilian neighbour - lithium developer Sigma Lithium (capped at CAD$2.7 billion).

LRS set out the following indicative timeline for when it expects this work to be completed:

  • JORC resource by the end of the 2022 calendar year
  • Preliminary economic assessment by March 2023

As soon as these are delivered, LRS is planning to launch straight into a DFS.

Having tucked away a $35M capital raise, LRS ended the June quarter with $33.5M cash in the bank. It is putting its balance sheet strength to use accelerating progress at its new discovery.

With a 25,000m resource definition drilling program being run concurrently we expect to see plenty more drilling newsflow over the coming weeks/months leading up to the maiden JORC resource, which LRS expects to complete by the end of this year.

The gant chart from LRS’s announcement today gives us a good summary of what to expect over the next six months.

Airborne Gravity Gradiometry (aim for helium bullseye)

ASX:NHE   Aug 09, 2022

Investment Memo: NHE IM-2022
Objective 2 : Target generation to produce two drillable targets
Milestone 1 : Airborne gravity gradiometry (Q2-Q3 2022)

Our helium Investment, Noble Helium (ASX:NHE) just began its Airborne Gravity Gradiometry and Magnetics program today, one of the one of the key milestones in Objective #1 of our NHE Investment Memo:

🔄 Airborne gravity gradiometry (Q2-Q3 2022)

Gravity gradiometry is used in gas exploration to identify targets below the earth’s surface by measuring minute differences in the earth's density to gather information on underground structures.

We think these surveys are somewhat analogous to EM surveys for mining companies and they produce the colourful patterns we’ve become so familiar with in our time Investing in exploration companies:

It’s an important part of NHE’s target generation works and the data from this program will then be correlated with upcoming geochemistry results and the capstone exploration method - the pivotal 3D seismic survey slated for Q3/Q4.

NHE is working with a high end gradiometry instrument from Lockheed Martin which is significantly more precise than the predecessor instrument.

The way we understand NHE’s helium exploration program, there are three layers involved, each increasing the likelihood of a helium discovery:

We emphasise that we are not experts in gas exploration, but we hope this visualisation explains NHE’s exploration methodology.

What’s next for NHE? We’re eager to see the results of the recent geochemistry survey and how this combines with the program announced today.

Gold project sold, balance sheet now even stronger

ASX:LNR   Aug 09, 2022 Announcement

Investment Memo: LNR IM-2022

Earlier this week our rare earths exploration Investment Lanthanein Resources (ASX: LNR) put out an update on the sale of its PNG gold project.

The deal comes after ASX listed Tempest Minerals put in a takeover offer for Lole Mining which holds the gold project.

As part of the deal LNR will receive a total of $2M split as follows:

Initial consideration:

  • $500,000 cash
  • $1.5M in either cash or shares at the election of Lole Mining

Deferred consideration:

  • $1M within 5 years or before a JORC resource of 500,000 oz of gold in the indicated category is defined.

LNR therefore should receive the initial consideration of ~$2M in cash/shares no later than 28 September 2022.

After recently completing a $1.75M capital raise and with $4M in cash in the bank at 30 June 2022, LNR is adding to what we think is an already extremely strong balance sheet for an exploration company.

With a market cap of just $24M (after the recent placement shares are issued), we expect LNR to have ~$7.75M in cash/financial assets after the placement is completed and the gold project is sold.

This should mean the company trades with an enterprise value (EV) of ~$13.25M leading up to its drilling program at its REE projects along strike from Hastings Technology Metals (capped at $416M) and next door to Dreadnought Resources (capped at $228M).

Next: We want to see LNR start and complete all of the pre-drilling works to enable the company to drill its REE targets this quarter.

Second helium well now planned for Q3-4 2022.

ASX:GGE   Aug 05, 2022 Announcement

Investment Memo: GGE IM-2022
Investment Thesis 4 : Performance milestones incentivising drilling & analog fields

This morning our 2021 Catalyst Hunter Pick of The Year Grand Gulf Energy (ASX: GGE) just confirmed when it expects to drill its second helium exploration well at its helium project in Utah, USA.

Today, GGE announced that the second helium exploration well at its helium project is planned for Q3-4 2022.

We previously covered GGE’s exploration prospects and mentioned:

  1. That GGE has four mature step out drilling locations whereby it can follow up its recent discovery at the Jesse prospect
  2. That GGE has three NEW and independent prospects where GGE can drill to try and make an entirely new discovery.

To see our deep dive on these prospects click here and scroll down to the section “Plenty of other targets to follow up after this well”.

Workover rig scheduled to conduct helium flow test

ASX:GGE   Aug 05, 2022 Announcement

Investment Memo: GGE IM-2022
Objective 3 : Drilling First Well
Risk 2 : Flow rate risk

This morning our 2021 Catalyst Hunter Pick of The Year Grand Gulf Energy (ASX: GGE), detailed the forward work program for its new helium discovery in Utah, USA.

GGE announced that it had scheduled a work-over rig to conduct a flow test at the Jesse #1A well later this month or early September.

This well will follow up on the discovery GGE made at its first pure play helium well (Jesse #1A), where GGE returned helium grades consistently measuring between 0.44 and 0.65%.

With the flow test, GGE will be looking to complete the final part of the process to take GGE from helium explorer to producer.

  1. A proven helium structure that can be followed up with additional drilling. ✅
  2. Commercially viable helium grades above our 0.4% expectation (GGE’s grades were between 0.44 and 0.65%). ✅
  3. Commercially viable flow rate 🔄- (Today’s announcement)

In a previous GGE note, we detailed our bullish, base and bearish case expectations for the flow test results.

To read that note, click here.

Russian gas cuts threatening world ammonia & fertiliser supply

ASX:MNB   Aug 05, 2022

Investment Memo: MNB IM-2022

This morning we saw the following interview between macro analyst Tony Greer and a digital chicken (Doomberg).

With reference to a Wall Street Journal article titled "Russian gas cuts threaten world's largest chemical hub", Greer made the following comments.

  • "You need natural gas to produce ammonia and energy to mine phosphate."
  • "You need phosphate and ammonia to produce fertiliser."
  • "You need fertiliser to grow food at scale."
  • "You need food to keep the peace."

Tony's comments come as a result of the impacts the European energy crisis is having on the German industrial sector, with a lack of access to affordable gas threatening to shut down supply chain critical manufacturing facilities.

The specific focus is on the BA SF (European chemicals conglomerate) owned chemicals plant in Germany, the biggest of its kind in the world and home to one of Europe's largest ammonia plants.

Globally, more than 90% of ammonia is produced from fossil fuels and, more specifically, natural gas.

So the specific issues being discussed are energy scarcity and a lack of gas supply threatening ammonia supply.

These are areas where we think our Investment in Minbos Resources (ASX: MNB) will succeed.

MNB is currently progressing towards the development of a phosphate (fertiliser) project while at the same time putting together a plan to build from the ground up a zero carbon ammonia plant.

The zero carbon factor is its primary positive differentiating factor as part of a move away from a reliance on fossil fuels and, more specifically, gas.

Having already secured cheap affordable zero carbon hydropower for its plant, we think MNB is positioning itself uniquely in a part of the economy where supply chain issues are only starting to bubble up to the surface.

We think that as the supply chain issues become more obvious, MNB's project will start to have implications globally and not just regionally in Africa.

CHIPS Bill Almost Signed and Semiconductors Need Helium

ASX:GGE   Aug 05, 2022

Macro: Helium

Investment Memo: GGE IM-2022
Investment Thesis 1 : Helium a critical raw-material for Semiconductors

US politicians in Taiwan, hundreds of billions in funding for chip manufacturing and one strategic gas.

US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi has just left Taiwan and the US$280B Chips and Science Act is heading to President Joe Biden’s desk shortly - the semiconductor supply chain is now mainstream news.

Taiwan retains a dominant position in the chip making industry and the US is keen to attract more chip manufacturing for strategic reasons with the US$280B Chips and Science Act.

Importantly, semiconductor manufacturing is expected to make up 28% of helium demand in the next 5 years.

We’ve previously drawn a link between our helium Investment, Grand Gulf Energy (ASX:GGE), and the large number of proposed manufacturing hubs or “fabs” which could be built in neighbouring states to GGE’s operations in Utah, USA.

In short, we expect domestic helium supply to continue to increase in strategic significance as chip makers start to build out US-based manufacturing capacity.

We also expect helium demand to remain very firm in the short to medium term, and market interest in helium investments to increase in the years to come on the back of its role in the semiconductor supply chain.

Just as the move to secure domestic semiconductor supply chains gathers momentum, securing the helium supply chain will correspondingly also become important.

Recently, the US House of Representatives’ passed the Chips and Science Act which will allocate $52B in grants and incentives for domestic semiconductor manufacturing:

Key takeaways:

  • US$52.7 billion allocated in order to encourage chip makers to develop and research semiconductors and chips in the U.S
  • President Biden to sign in the coming days
  • Part of a broader trend of Western governments incentivising chip production - Germany has announced it will fund 32 semiconductor projects via a €10B fund proposed in May. Meanwhile Japan has also approved US$6.8B in funding for domestic semiconductor investment

What’s next for GGE?

GGE will re-enter Jesse #1A to test for flow rates in Q3-2022. If GGE can prove out a commercially viable flow rate then it could see itself go from helium explorer to producer off the back of its maiden drilling program.

Further rhodium mineralisation at Callisto

ASX:GAL   Aug 04, 2022 Announcement

Investment Memo: GAL IM-2022 [Archive]
Objective 3 : Cobalt and palladium exploration at Norseman

Galileo Mining (ASX:GAL) this morning announced that assays from drilling at its Callisto PGE discovery in WA revealed consistent rhodium grades.

The assays reported today are from the first four drill holes of the second RC program at Callisto and have returned consistent rhodium grades over the previously reported mineralised intervals.

GAL has now confirmed rhodium mineralisation across all drill holes analysed to date.

This is significant as rhodium is now priced at ~US$14,700 per ounce (~$A745 per gram) — so the occurrence of rhodium at Callisto has potential to add significant value to the overall project.

Rhodium is a very rare metal, almost always produced as a by-product of platinum, palladium, copper, or nickel mining. It is predominantly used in automotive catalysts for pollution control, as well as jewellery.

The last time GAL reported rhodium mineralisation assays we noted how the deposit was shaping up against the Platreef PGE deposits in South Africa.

Brad touched on this in today’s announcement mentioning that GAL’s Callisto discovery has the same disseminated sulphide style as seen at Platreef.

For some context, GAL’s assays returned rhodium grades of ~0.03-0.06g/t, while the Platreef deposit’s resource has rhodium grades of ~0.07g/t, both using a 1g/t cut off.

The key difference between the two is the depth of mineralisation. GAL’s discovery starts from a depth of ~110m, whereas the Platreef deposits starts from ~500m and extend to depths of up to 1,200m.

Here are updated major drill intercepts, now including rhodium in 4E calculation where available (4E = palladium + platinum + gold + rhodium):

It had already been a busy news week for GAL with today’s rhodium assays following an announcement on Tuesday of GAL’s planned 50-hole RC drilling program, followed by assay results on Wednesday. You can read more on those updates in our Note from yesterday.

Having only recently raised capital, GAL has $26.4 in the bank (as at 21 July) — plenty to further expand drilling as required.

With this cash balance and GAL’s more than five kilometres of prospective strike length, we can expect plenty more drilling ahead.

Greater financial flexibility following final MNF repayment

ASX:VN8   Aug 04, 2022 Announcement

Investment Memo: VN8 IM-2022

This morning, our small cap telco investment Vonex (ASX:VN8) reported that it has made the final monthly cash payment to Symbio Holdings Ltd (ASX: SYM) for its transformative $31M acquisition of the MyNetFone Direct Business (refer ASX announcement 7 June 2021).

As a result, VN8’s net cash flow will now improve to the tune of $833k per month, or about $10M annually.

VN8 is now completely unencumbered by deferred acquisition payments, providing greater financial flexibility moving forward. This will be useful for further acquisitions and growth opportunities, or accelerating repayment of the $16M debt facility (of which $14.5M has been drawn).

VN8 delivered a strong financial result in its latest quarterly report, posting record revenues, sales and customer growth. The results come on the back of the telco’s aggressive growth by acquisition strategy, which has also led to record Annual Recurring Revenues (a useful indicator for future ongoing revenue) topping $36M.

We have provided a deep dive into these financial results as well as what is in store for the company in our latest article VN8 following the telco playbook for growth.

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